Published On: Sub, ruj 10th, 2022

Electoral Reform Disarray Foreshadows Uncertain Future for Dayton Peacein Bosnia and Herzegovina

The US-EU led effort on electoral reform has run into destabilizing rhetoric in Sarajevo ahead of the October elections. High Representative Schmidt may impose changes to the unconstitutional election law. However, the failure of the parties to agree on electoral reform reveals deep disagreements over power-sharing as established by the Dayton Accords, thereby bringing the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina into question

Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) For well over a year, American and European diplomats have negotiated electoral reform, hoping to strengthen the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BH) by reinvigorating the Bosniak-Croat Federation. According to American diplomat Matthew Palmer—who worked together with EU’s Dutch diplomat Angelina Eichhorst–the United States wants “a stronger, more functional Federation… [that] would help stabilize the political situation…and provide a kind of counterweight to Republika Srpska.” The Bosniak-Croat Federation and the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) are BH’s two Entities set up by the Dayton Accords in 1995, at the end of brutal war.

As outlined by US Secretary Blinken and Matthew Palmer, the United States wants to preserve the Dayton 1-2-3 framework with limited constitutional changes to implement the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decisions regarding the electoral rights of minorities. The Dayton 1-2-3 formula expresses the critical peace bargain reached at Dayton in 1995: one BH state (1) in exchange for its internal reorganization into two entities (2) and equal power-sharing between three constituent peoples (3) representing over 97% of the BH citizens: Bosniaks (50.1%), Serbs (30.8%), and Croats (15.4%).

Having no entity of their own, Croats depend on electing their own representatives to partake in the shared governance, drawing protection from their status as a constituent people. However, after the imposed constitutional changes in 2002, Bosniaks began exploiting loopholes to vote Croat representatives into office. The Constitutional Court (CCBH) declared election law unconstitutional but its decision has never been implemented due to the opposition of Bosniaks. Worried over the deteriorated Bosniak-Croat relationship and dysfunctionality in the Federation, Palmer and Eichhorst took several trips to BH to lead the electoral reform talks.

However, despite their internal differences on other matters, Bosniak national parties, Bosnian civic parties, and the civil society that supports them–or political Sarajevo, for short–have been unified in rejecting the US-EU electoral proposals. Sarajevo’s ultimate goal is a “civic state”—a unitary state without entities, constituent peoples, or power-sharing. In the words of its chief proponent Zeljko Komsic, Sarajevo is anticipating “the post-Dayton phase of normal and stable [BH that] can only be its civic phase.” Rejected by Serbs and Croats, Sarajevo’s vision of a civic state would give power to the Bosniak majority, in defiance of the Dayton system of power-sharing. From the Dayton peace 1-2-3 formula, Sarajevo wants to keep only the recognized single state (1), while eliminating entities (2) and constituent peoples (3).

At the source of the contention is the 2016 Ljubic ruling by the BH Constitutional Court (CCBH). The CCBH upheld “the legitimate political representation…based on the democratic choice by those represented and whose interests are represented” and “the connection between those who are represented and their political representatives” (Ljubic U-23/14).

This connection between the Croat electorate and their representatives has been missing when Croat officials get elected by the predominantly Bosniak electorate.

Aforementioned politician Zeljko Komsic provides a stark example of ethnic representation without the legitimate political representation. The titular Croat member of the tripartite Bosniak-Croat-Serb Presidency got reelected in 2018 despite the overwhelming loss of the Croat vote. About half of the voting districts that Komsic won have fewer than three percent Croats, and only one has more than 10% Croats. A persona non grata in the Croat inhabited areas, Komsic lost the districts holding 86% of the Federation’s Croats, while his opponent won all districts except one holding more than 20% Croats. A well-known advocate of a unitary civic state with a majority-voting system, Komsic works in tandem with Sefik Dzaferovic, the Bosniak member of the BH Presidency. Both Croat Komsic and Bosniak Dzaferovic got elected from the territory of the Federation, where Bosniaks (70.4 %) outnumber Croats (22.4%) by more than 3 to 1By electing two members of the tripartite Presidency, Sarajevo maintains a two-thirds majority against the Serb member, Milorad Dodik, elected by Republika Srpska.

Disregarding that Bosniaks elected Komsic, Sarajevo maintains that Komsic represents Croats in the Presidency by virtue of being an ethnic Croat. According to Sarajevo, declaring oneself a Croat qualifies one to run for any Croat seat in the country’s system of power-sharing. The supporters of Sarajevo argue that ethnicity is determined subjectively (and can be therefore changed) through self-identification. They reject the CCBH Ljubic decision, alleging that its implementation would entrench the rule of the HDZ-BH, the party dominant among Croats in BH. In reality, the subjective interpretations of ethnicity have been used for ethno-electoral engineering, while electoral reform would most likely encourage political pluralism by enabling Croats to vote for smaller parties without fear of getting outvoted by Bosniaks.

Sarajevo fields its own self-identified Croat, Serb, and minority candidates–to fill the ethnic quotas for the non-Bosniak seats–through the parties supported predominantly by the Bosniak electorate. Intent on governing as if the Dayton power-sharing did not exist, Sarajevo looks to elect a multiethnic government but on Sarajevo’s political platform, claiming that implementing Ljubic would increase ethnic polarization. How Sarajevo’s strategy works in the real world shows the case of Komsic–an ethnic representative of Croats, but a political representative of Bosniaks. Imposing Komsic repeatedly upon the Croat electorate has been the single most divisive issue that has driven a wedge between Croats and Bosniaks.

As the key Dayton power-sharing institution, the Federation House of Peoples (FHoP) represents constituent peoples by parity–Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs each have 17 deputies (there are also 7 seats for minorities). However, based on unamended election law, Bosniaks can elect most of the FHoP deputies, including two-thirds (12/17) of the Serb FHoP club and one-third (6/17) of the Croat FHoP club. In any case, the Serbs’ participation in the BH governance is assured through Republika Srpska, where most of Serbs live. However, most of Croats live in the Federation, but their legitimate political representatives may end up excluded from the post-election governace if they control less than two-thirds (11/17) of the Croat FHoP club.

This perplexing situation was inherited from High Representative (HR) Wolfgang Petritsch, who used the Bonn powers to impose the constitutional amendment in 2002 prescribing that, regardless of the present-day demography, “there shall be at least one Bosniac, one Croat, one Serb from each Canton” elected into the FHoP. Superficially even-handed, the Petritsch rule helped place the Croat and Serb seats under the control of Sarajevo in the cantons where the Bosniak electorate holds the sway and thus elects its own Croats and Serbs into the Croat and Serb FHoP clubs, respectively. For example, the Podrinje (Gorazde) canton houses 22,313 Bosniaks (94%), 885 Serbs (3.7%), and 24 Croats (0.1%), but still elects one Bosniak, one Serb, and one Croat. Formerly a Bosniak, the official holder of the Croat Gorazde seat self-identifies now as a Croat but continues to vote together with his Bosniak allies, rather than Croat deputies in the FHoP. Furthermore, while the 24 Croats of Gorazde get one FHoP seat—a gift to Sarajevo–33,600 Croats from the Posavina canton cannot get more than one FHoP seat. Expectedly, the CCBH found the Petritsch amendment unconstitutional for violating the rights of the constituent peoples to get an equal and legitimate political representation in the FHoP.

Hence, when faced with the failure of electoral reform, in late July HR Christian Schmidt proposed that officials get elected from the districts housing at least 3% of their constituencies. However, Sarajevo ended in an uproar, charging that the electoral changes amounted to “legislating apartheid,” Nuremburg-like “blood-quantum election law,”and the continuation of the Srebrenica genocide. In a sign of escalation, Bakir Izetbegovic claimed to be counting his fighters, hunters, and drone operators, presumably in preparation for war.

The uproar about the “minority seats” and “apartheid” that caught the world’s attention is about the FHoP seats like Gorazde, which Sarajevo has been stocking with its own allies, denying Croats the legitimate political representation according to the CCBH.

The Dayton provisions were meant to prevent precisely what Sarajevo intends—to assimilate Croats politically by erasing the Dayton category of constituent peoples and establishing an unconstitutional majoritarian rule benefiting Sarajevo’s constituencies. Sarajevo’s elites, including Komsic’s own advisor, have repeatedly aired the plans to change the Constitution and replace power-sharing with a majority rule. Realizing these plans—amounting to a de facto constitutional coup against BH’s Dayton based Constitution—requires that Sarajevo should win the majorities beyond what the Constitution permits in the October 2022 elections; hence, Sarajevo will not accept any electoral reform before the elections.

The BH Croats could react to Sarajevo’s constitutional coup by boycotting the Federation institutions, carving out their own autonomous region. Russia-supported Republika Srpska could use the troubles in the Federation to declare independence. Clearly, unilaterally upsetting one of Dayton’s categories such as the constituent peoples (3) can jeopardize the entire 1-2-3 Dayton peace bargain.

To be sure, many in the West would be tempted to agree with the view that democratizing BH should involve eroding ethnic power-sharing in favor of a citizens’ majority rule. Western democracies are not built around ethnicity but upon politically defined citizenship. However, the established democracies that many hold up as a role model for BH have not gone through violent disputes over sovereignty recently but have enjoyed long periods of domestic stability. On the other hand, the mechanisms of power-sharing like Dayton existin post-conflict societies to keep peace by providing the guarantees of inclusive governance for actors who once fought for their respective objectives on the battlefield.

The chasm over electoral reform has demonstrated irreconcilable differences. Threatened by secession, the country is also riveted by demands for imposing a centralized, majoritarian rule. Not even the Belgian model to represent different linguistic communities could provide a way out of the BH quagmire because only a “unitary and civic model” is acceptable to the majority of Bosniaks. Sarajevo rejects Dayton and power-sharing, while Croats and Serbs rebuff a majority rule under Sarajevo. Consequently, while still an international protectorate, BH is not likely to outgrow Dayton as a self-governing, viable single state.

by Dr. Marta Vrbetic

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HR🇭🇷HB
HR🇭🇷HB
19 dana prije

raskopaj Dejton j.e.b.o si nanu

Čedo
Čedo
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  HR🇭🇷HB
19 dana prije

Pa debilistanci već 25 godina raskopavaju dejton,ništa se ne poštuje iz njega.I sad su došli do kraja .Sad jedino još da probaju da raskinu dejtonski sporazum i vjerujem da im je to cilj.Imaju dva bošnjaka u predsjedništvu treba im treči bošnjak po mojoj procjeni Šarović je kandidat SDA koji bi trebao dati taj potpis ako pobjedi na izborima.Ako se to desi.Srbija i Hrvatska imaju puno pravo da vojno udju u BiH i zaštite svoju populaciju.Raskid dejtonskog ugovora od strane jene strane potpisnice jeste veoma rizičan potez ali od ovih talibana je za sve očekivati.

Anonimac
Anonimac
19 dana prije

Potpuno se jasno vidi tko su potpisnici dejtonskog sporazuma ,a evo da vas podsjetim.
Alija Izetbegović predstavnik muslimana
Franjo Tuđman predstavnik hrvata
Slobodan Milošević predstavnik srba
To znači tri konstitutivna i ravnopravna naroda u BIH
Tuđman je umjesto hrvata u BIH to pitpisao što znači da Hrvatska ima pravo zaštititi hrvate u BIH ,ima se pravo mješati kad su god ugrožena prava hrvata u BIH ,a tako vrijedi i za ostale .
Hrvatska se ima pravo miješati ,a muslimani se nemaju pravo zbog toga buniti
To je tako kako je ,nekima pravo a nekima krivo .

Anonimac
Anonimac
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Anonimac
19 dana prije

Samo dva agresora potpisali da neće podržavati katoličke i svetosavske teroriste….amerika i evropa svjedoci…

Anonimac
Anonimac
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Anonimac
19 dana prije

Vidi se da si ogorčen pa pišeš gluposti .Potpuno te razumijem ,svjesni da je dejton sve i nitko ga ne može poništiti.
Prvi potpis je stavio alija ,onda su i drugi potpisali .
Znači ,samo Dejton i tri konstitutivna i ravnopravna naroda.
Što to prije shvatiš bit će ti puno lakše.

Čedo
Čedo
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Anonimac
19 dana prije

PA što ste sa agresorima potpisivali dejtonski sporazum,praktično ste im priznali Herceg bosnu i Republiku Srpsku za njihove teritorije.Mislili ste iskamčiti odštetu zbog ovih potpisa,Ali ste izgubili na sudu hahahahahaha naguziše vas vaši tutori.

Anonimac
Anonimac
19 dana prije

Prevedi bre na srpski ili ruski da te ceo svet skutorija razume..ej bre ,alo bre,ko je bre,ja bre…ko bre….ja bre….a bre…i spusti picousti snajperista telefonsku slusalicu …a bre..

Majorizator.
Majorizator.
19 dana prije

Predsjwdbik Erdogan je neki dan u Hrvatskoj jasno oznacio Daytonski sporazum kao izvor svih problema u BiH,te ce kao takav biti ukinut kao i sve tekovine te ludjacke kosulje kao sto su gen.ocidna tvirevina,tzv konstitutovnost,troclano Predsjednistvo itd.
Ioak se on pita najvise na ovim prostorima.

Musa kesedžija podero bošnju
Musa kesedžija podero bošnju
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Majorizator.
19 dana prije

Je dašta,još je za vas glupe bošnje rezervirao po okoprilike 72 djevice pod uslovom da se raznesete dinamitom
Poslušajte ga molim vas

Anonimac
Anonimac
19 dana prije

Točno se vidi ko su potpisnici dejtonskog sporazuma .
Erdogan svojim dolaskom i nekakvim govorom o dejtonu samo mlati praznu slamu
Nitko ga ne doživljava jer on uopće nije potpisnik ,Dejtona pa sukladno sa time nema apsolutno nikakva prava da se izjašnjava u vezi toga .
Zna se da je Turska bila okupator ,a toga su najbolje svjesni ove po.tur.ce što žive u BIH ,i oni dobro znaju kakav su teror podnijeli od turaka dok se nisu po.rt.u.čili.

Majorizator.
Majorizator.
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Anonimac
19 dana prije

Bosnjace katolice,Turci su na ove prostore donijeli svjetlo islama,jedine ispravne vjere.
I na tome smo im uvijek zahvalni.
Sultan vam je izdao ahdnamu i dao slobode,tako se ti danas zoves Jozo ili Mate a ne npr Safet ili Osman.
Da bi se mnogo kasnije proglasili nekakvim “hrvatima”.
Gospodin Erdogan je garant da ovdje nikada vise nece biti pocinjen geno.cid ili u.z.p.nad Bosnjacima i to tebe boli.
Ipak je njemu r. Alija ostavio ovu zemlju u amanet.🤠

HR🇭🇷HB
HR🇭🇷HB
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Majorizator.
19 dana prije

znači kad otegne papke i amanet ode s tabutom ,,aj onda što prije da prdelucne

Last edited 19 dana prije by HR🇭🇷HB
Majorizator.
Majorizator.
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  HR🇭🇷HB
19 dana prije

Ne,tad ce doci novi Erdogan i tako u nedogled.
Isto kao i sa Komsicem.

HR🇭🇷HB
HR🇭🇷HB
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Majorizator.
19 dana prije

i glup i slijepi bezobrazan si ti da vidiš da su oba politički zombiji mrtvaci ,zamazo vam kakir oči

Majorizator.
Majorizator.
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  HR🇭🇷HB
18 dana prije

Vidim dovoljno da mogu uociti da je Turska najjaca sila na mediteranu a ti i ta 2 vagona tvojih istomisljenika pred izumiranjem,poput vase sahranjene nacisticke drzavice,takozvane hb.🤠

Čedo
Čedo
19 dana prije

Evo ovakva nam je cijela država stvorena na lažima i mitovima,Baš kao i ovo da se Željznica ulijeva u Bosnu a jasno se vidi da je obratno bosna se ulijeva u Željeznicu.Sad kome je nekad u cilju bilo da se Željeznica od ušća sa bosnom preimenuje u Bosnu to treba da se iztraži pa ćemo znati i ko je sve ovo zakuvao.Pametnom dosta

Herceg Bosnjak
Herceg Bosnjak
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Čedo
19 dana prije

Zanimljivo i ja sam ovo sa svojim ukucanima komentarisao. Mogao bih ja s tobom kahvu piti, slicni smo cini mi se.
Doduse ja sam govorio sto Zeljeznica nije Bosna, a Bosna Zeljeznica.
Ima tako jos cudnih primjera npr Moraca i Zeta. Zeta bi trebala nastaviti tok a ne Moraca.
Sana i Una u Bosanskom Novom, Sana je veca od Une i na karti izgleda da je Una pritoka.
Ne mogu se sada sjetiti primjera jos.

Čedo
Čedo
Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Herceg Bosnjak
19 dana prije

Vjerovatno nekad nekome ko je davao imena rijekama nije bilo bitno koja je rijeka veća,ili jednostavno vrijeme se mjenja pa i rijeke možda je vrelo bosne bilo jače u rimsko doba,Rimljani su na ilidžđi imali naselja.

Anonimac
Anonimac
19 dana prije

Za vrijeme vladavine turaka ,turci ne samo da su potu.r.čili ovaj naivni narod u Bosni nego su im isprali mozak pričom da je islam jedina i prava vjera
Zbog toga ovi jadni muslimani u današnjoj bosni ne znaju ni tko su ,ni što su ,ni kome pripadaju
Misle eto da će ih erdogan čuvati paziti . Vjerovatno naviknuti na to da ne mogu opstati sami,niti išta uraditi bez tuđe pomoći .Takvi se u narodu nazivaju tz paraziti žive na grbačama drugih jer ne mogu drukčije fukcionirati .
Lakovjerni su i nasjedaju na svačije priče pa i o nekom ostavljenom amanetu na čuvanje koda su o.vce
Vjerovatno će se vremenom dozvati pameti i iskreno se nadam da neće biti kasno.

Čedo
Čedo
19 dana prije

Pa šta je ovo ljudi jesmo li mi Bosanci ili Željezničari pogledajte koliko je Bosna usahla sve je manje ima sad se ona ULIJEVA u Željeznicu.Treba mjenjati ime države u Željezna-Hercegovina.